Educational Journey with EPHAT MUDENDA
STRONG language skills are essential if one has to succeed not only in the area of academics, but also in one’s
career in adulthood.
This is why J S Shonkoff and D Phillips, in ‘From Neurons to Neighbourhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development’ (2000), state: “What happens during the first months and years of life matters a lot, not because this period of development provides an indelible blueprint for adult well-being, but because it sets either a sturdy or fragile stage for what follows.”
Reading aloud to young ones early helps to lay a good foundation for effective language learning. In fact, reading to them, as some people do in form of bed-time stories in early childhood, helps them learn to associate the sounds that they hear and the letters which they see on a page. So, the more an adult teaches children how to read, the better off they become as they grow up.
It is true that writing well is a rare skill. And the panacea for this widespread problem in the present-day academic and work environments is simply reading. It is something that, when placed in its right context, will definitely improve a child’s skill at writing. It serves as a critical medium through which children learn by example. Reading some good material containing well-structured sentences, a wide vocabulary and correctly spelt words – in short, some good English – is an efficient and effective way to learn how to replicate them later. Any accomplished author will testify that good writing always results from reading a great deal, as well as continuously practising writing.
If you want your child to be good at comprehension, then you will do well to help him or her to love reading; and they should practise it more. You can only assist them to engage in this activity if you understand that having a high level of reading comprehension enables one to master information quickly and gain more knowledge immediately he or she reads something. No doubt, academic performance is improved in this way, as it makes studying more efficient for a student. Actually, being able to learn new information quickly is a great skill that a workplace setting also demands.
A child who begins learning how to read at an early stage in life also quickly develops an ability to make associations between abstract concepts and think through various situations in a logical manner. As such internal processes develop, the result is that it will be easier for both critical thinking and decision-making skills to also develop later in life. As the child grows, these skills are simply nurtured.
It is an indisputable fact that books are the building blocks for a better future. Not only do they offer humanity a great platform upon which to under-stand the world we live in, but also nourish our imagination, empower and comfort those who appreciate them, and indeed fuel an ever-increasing love for learning.
So, when you get a book and sing lullabies or read aloud to a baby or a pre-schooler, what you are doing is that you are stimulating that child’s develop-ing mind and helping build a base for literacy skills. “Counting, number concepts, letter names and shapes, associating sounds with letters, interest in reading, and cooperation with other children, are all relevant to learning to read” (Wells, 1985). An adult’s one-on-one interaction with a child can stimu-late the young person’s reading skill, language acquisition and literacy development in general.
And because play acts as the ‘work for children’, a variety of written forms including music and other language-rich arts can help deepen a child’s inter-est in learning to read. In this way, reading becomes part of their fun. The result is a positive development of a wide vocabulary, concepts and creativity, which are all part of pre-literacy skill building.
Therefore, as reading affects the success of children in various ways, parents must place emphasis on the importance of this skill to young ones. The onus is on us, parents, to put our children on the road to success, especially when we make reading itself easy and fun.